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Dialogic Reverberations: Police, Domestic Abuse, and the Discontinuance of Cases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Susan J. Lea, Nick Lynn

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3091-3114
Number of pages24
Issue number15
Early online date22 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

King's Authors


This study investigated the social construction of domestic abuse by police officers, specifically in the context of arguments presented to the prosecutor for a decision on whether to proceed with or discontinue the case. Nineteen police files were examined with a particular focus on the MG3, the "Report to Crown Prosecutors for Charging Decision." Access to such sensitive material is usually denied to researchers; therefore, this study offers unusual insights into the treatment of victims and perpetrators of interpersonal violence by the police. Discourse analysis revealed three dominant speech genres: impartiality, credibility, and the "real" victim. These genres separately and in interaction served to construct domestic abuse cases in ways that did not support the victim's account. The "dialogic reverberations" of these findings are discussed and the implications of the work for research and practice are considered.

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